Students should reserve time for self-care despite stigmas

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Forty million U.S. adults suffer from an anxiety disorder. Seventy-five percent of them experience their first episodes by age twenty-two.

Eighty-five percent of college students reported a feeling of being overwhelmed by everything they had to do during the past year. Thirty percent of college students report stress and anxiety have negatively impacted their academic experience.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. One in 12 college students makes a suicide plan.

These statistics were concluded by the Anxiety and Depression Association of American and the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention and prove just how serious the topic of mental health is for college students while also bringing up the question of what are colleges doing to help those who are struggling with mental health and suicide.

Here at UW-Whitewater, I believe we need to work towards ending the stigma around mental health in order to help those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts and create a more accepting atmosphere for those that are struggling.

College is a difficult time for many students. From being away from family for the first time, meeting new people, figuring out what classes to take and subjects to major in, tests and exams, the feeling of always having something to do or having assignments due, there is a constant feeling of stress put on college students.

All of these life changing choices and feelings are happening while trying to balance classes, a social life, employment, campus organizations, and an attempt to take care of ourselves mentally.

Personally, I know when it comes to balancing my work, two jobs, friends, relationship, sorority life and having to take care of myself, the chances of putting my mental health first are slim. I believe this is due to society having a horrible stigma around mental health, and it is taught at a young age that everyone is fine and those who struggle with mental illnesses are weak.

If you were to walk around our campus, or any college campus, there is a 100 percent chance you will meet someone who has or is struggling with some form of mental health difficulty. Whether it’s as small as dealing with stress before an exam or the feeling of failure due to a bad grade, to an extreme factor as thoughts of taking their own life, there are so many people on this campus who have felt the same way.

So with taking this into consideration, what can we do as a college community in order to help those that are struggling?

There are free and confidential counseling services provided at the Ambrose Health Center.

Another helpful thing someone can do for those who are struggling with mental health is just being a support system for those that need it. By knowing the warning signs and symptoms, you can become more aware of what to look out for if those around you are acting differently.

Never forget, you are worthy, you are smart, you matter. Even if it seems like the world is crumbling around you, you can make it through.

—Claire Zebrowski

UW-Whitewater  senior